The thing I love most about this blogfest is that it gives me free reign to pretend I’m some sort of brilliant evil overlord of YA books, picking the best of the year with little input from peons like Time magazine. Hey, a girl can dream.
So without further delusions, my picks for the best in the major genres:
The only thing dystopian about This is Not a Test is the fact that it’s set days after zombies have taken over the world. Not a new concept, but the execution is like a breath of fresh air in a genre that’s quickly becoming overdone. The slow-building narrative follows Sloan, a teen girl who wants to kill herself as she and a group of other teens barricaded in their high school adapt to the new world. This isn’t a story about fighting the system or tough-girl antics. It’s an emotional tale about a girl learning to want to live.
Favorite Science Fiction
There’s so much I loved about this story—the fearsome world Rossi created, the two very different characters from whose points of view the story is told, the romance that’s slow-building and totally believable. The plot’s fast-paced and interesting, but nearly a year after I read this the things that stand out most in my mind are the characters—Perry, in particular, and his love for his nephew.
I tried. I mean, I really tried to pick just one. It seems I went on something of a fantasy kick this year and the best I could do was to whittle my favorites down to two. So I’m picking Shadow and Bone for its amazing world-building and strong characters, including my absolute favorite, The Darkling. (Why yes, I do root for the bad guys.) And I’m also choosing Throne of Glass for a kick-ass heroine and another bad guy I can’t help but love, Prince Dorian.
I’d like to apologize ahead of time for the number of times you’ll see the cover of The Fault In Our Stars in the coming days. I’m going to do my best not to make the 2012 YA Superlative Blogfest = the 2012 John Green Lovefest, but I really can’t make any promises. This was hands-down my favorite book of the year.
The Hangover meets Prom in Ditched, an adorable YA contemporary about a girl who wakes up in a ditch wearing her prom dress and has to put together the pieces of her night with the help of two hilarious women who work at 7-Eleven. Favorite quote:
“I don’t tell Gilda and Donna the part where I considered tying my dress together with the tampon string before realizing the darn thing was too short.”
This isn’t a straight mystery in the Agatha Christie sense of the word, and maybe it really belongs in the paranormal category, but I don’t care. It’s the mystery that had me turning pages at warp speed. That, and the prose that had me laughing out loud on multiple occasions. Case in point:
“Jared glared. Some people, Kami knew, had bedroom eyes. She was saddened to have to admit that Jared had filthy alleyway eyes.”
I read plenty of contemporary romances this year, but I have to say, the award for most smokin’ romance goes to Katy and Daemon in Onyx. Yes, it’s technically a sci-fi novel that reads like paranormal romance, but the love-hate relationship is so well done that I immediately bought this book after finishing the first in the series, Obsidian.
There’s so much I love about this book that I’m going to refer you to my review before this blurb becomes a dissertation on how Maggie Stiefvater is most likely a robot because no human could create three narrators and a host of other characters with such different personalities and voices.
Favorite Family Drama
I went into Graffiti Moon expecting a lighthearted drama about a girl who’s searching for a graffiti artist she idolizes alongside a boy who is secretly the graffiti artist. I was pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous prose and complex plot. In fact, just writing this has made me want to re-read the book all over again.
Favorite Genre Bender
Cinder is a sci-fi fairytale retelling heavy on the romance and with a little mystery thrown in for good measure. It’s one of the most creative takes on Cinderella I’ve read, and the plot deviated enough from the traditional fairytale that I was hurrying through pages to find out what would happen to Cinder, our part-cyborg narrator. The ending set up the next book in the Lunar Chronicles, which I’ll be picking up as soon as it releases in 2013.